Pod Picks for May 23, 2013

May 22, 2013 

Hey, put these banging new tracks on your summer playlist - or risk being lame.

"Time and Money" by The Meat Puppets

Last year, Curt Kirkwood and Cris Kirkwood, the creative force of The Meat Puppets and brothers, had a book written about their exploits, “Too High to Die: Meet the Meat Puppets.” The Arizona band has been a grand secret for 33 years, beginning as a punk outfit before evolving and incorporating folk and rock and other styles into their sound. They’ve broken up and reunited a couple times, suffered through drug problems. And still, most people know them for backing up Kurt Cobain and crew in Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged in New York.” On the band’s 14th album, “Rat Farm,” the Kirkwood Bros. show their eclectic nature and this track shows them at their most earnest. The fuzz-rock of the guitar is a desert haze while Curt Kirkwood’s weary vocals reach for a mirage that may not exist.

"Early Rising" by G. Love and Jack Johnson

G. Love has hooked-up with Johnson a bunch through the years. Hell, G. Love gave Johnson his musical start by collaborating on Johnson’s “Rodeo Clowns” back in 1999. G. Love has since signed with Johnson’s Brushfire Records and G. Love’s new limited release album, “Blood Shot and Blue,” is steeped in blues traditionalism. The Philadelphian, G. Love, and Hawaiian, Johnson, capture the sound of the Mississippi Delta with a Southern twang of harmonies, slide guitar, harmonica and foot stomps. These guys aren’t new to the blues. It’s always been in their sound, but here, they synthesize it down to its essence.

"Strictly Reserved for You" by Charles Bradley

The Screaming Eagle of Soul is back with his sophomore album, “Victim of Love,” released by Daptone Records. Joined by his Daptone label-mates, the Menahan Street Band, it brings out Bradley’s inner James Brown or Otis Redding when they were at their most soulful. It’s a simple R&B groove and it lets Bradley’s vocals soar above the track. This song, as it is with most of Bradley’s analog soul revival, would feel right at home on a Stax or Motown greatest hits compilation from the ’60s and ’70s.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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